Indiana State University Newsroom

Welcoming hour: Teamwork at center of Interior Architecture Design orientation

September 13, 2013

As the clock ticked away, "Miraculous" Mallory Eherenman and her team tore into their box of popsicle sticks, duct tape and paper clips, and began designing an outdoor recreational space for the Indiana State University's campus quads.

With only 60 minutes, six teams of interior architecture design students were challenged to create a "wall module," a usable outdoor space that would give Sycamores a place to interact. Using the items in their box, teams were asked to write a concept statement, build a model of the wall module and use sketches to support their design, considering elements such as elevations and perspectives with dimensions.

For the interior architecture design program's fall orientation this year, professors wanted to do something that would allow students to "think under pressure, engage and work together," said Azizi Arrington-Bey, assistant professor of interior architecture design. The IAD faculty members decided the best way to do that would be to host a design charrette.

Students were placed in teams based on the adjective they had used to describe themselves during the first week of class. Names ranged from "Kooky" Katheryn to "Boring" Brian and "Artistic" Amber.

"We paired people that had similar names together hoping they would find common ground, but we also paired opposites together hoping because opposites attract," said Arrington-Bey. She also said that each team had about two upperclassmen and four freshmen.

Teamwork was essential for the design charrette, given the limited supplies and time that students had to complete the project.

"The most challenging part of the contest was taking what little materials we had and actually making a model with them in the little time we were given," said Eherenman, a junior architecture design major from Brownsburg. "One hour to come up with an idea for a wall module and executing it is a major time crunch."

Professors, program advisory board members and industry representatives from Indianapolis provided guidance, encouraging students to consider design elements such as lighting, seating and technology.

"Sporadic" Stephanie Kreps and her team implemented technology theme in their design plan. Using the supply box to represent their curved wall concept, Kreps explained that they wanted to include seating, a place for bonfires, and a screen projector. Kreps said that allowing both upperclassmen and freshmen participate in the design contest worked into their favor because "freshmen were given the opportunity to lead and develop their own ideas." She thought the design charrette allowed the students to put into practice the skills they learn in the classroom."Students were demonstrating collaboration, quick thinking and decisiveness, all skills that need to be strengthened in order to be successful once working in the field of architecture and design," said Kreps, a junior interior architecture design major from Richmond.

Arrington-Bey wondered if students could finish everything asked of them in an hour, but each team delivered a functioning model and drawing.

"Advisory board members came up and told me how impressed they were and that this was one of the best fall orientations they could remember," she said. "Nothing beats creativity under pressure."

Photo: (ISU/Sam Barnes) A group of Indiana State University students works on the design during the design charette for the interior architecture design orientation.

Photo: (ISU/Sam Barnes) Indiana State University junior Mallory Eherenman during the design charette.

Contact: Azizi Arrington-Bey, assistant professor, interior architecture design, College of Technology, Indiana State University, 812-237-3314 or

Contact: Emily Sturgess, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or